When a brand is successful, it can be appealing to take advantage of the momentum gained by the company to expand the business overseas. However, expanding your brand internationally can be very complicated and can lead to huge failures.
To learn more about companies that failed internationally, you can read our article, “examples of companies that failed internationally, and how to go international.”
Many entrepreneurs would love to see their brand going global, but it is important to keep in mind all the barriers that exist when expanding your business overseas. You will have to create a fresh customer base, learn new laws and regulations, find new partners, and become familiar with local customs.
For small businesses, but even bigger ones, expanding your business to go international could disrupt existing business activities. So you have to make sure that the stakeholders understand the opportunities and the threats to determine if the rewards outweigh the risks.
"Companies should evaluate whether or not expansion is indeed beneficial, or if it will only take away from their core business," Caicedo said. "It may be better to serve one country well than several countries poorly." - Diego Caicedo, co-founder, and CEO of OmniBnk
Once you decided that you want to go international, There are a few things to keep in mind.
It is important to understand cultural differences, it can be language, regulations, or customs. Understand the culture of the country or region you want to expand to is essential in order to be successful in going global. Most companies that kept the same models in other countries failed, this is because they did not take the time to understand their customers and actually solve their problems. For example, when Mattel, opened a Barbie-themed shop in Shanghai, which was only open for 2 years. This was back In 2009, and they opened a giant 36,000 square feet (3345 square meters) with 6 floors, a staircase lined up with 857 barbies, 900 display cases and a barbie themed bar. But Mattel did not study the market enough, the Chinese culture “stresses skill-building and educational toys, Barbie was seen as a bit of a distraction.” This is why they had to close the store and rethink its strategy to expand in China.
So the first thing to do, and the most important is market research, you have to make sure that you understand these future customers. What’s great is that we now live in a globalized world where it has never been easier to expand internationally. Usually it worth taking your time on market research, and remember that your growth in another country will probably be slower than at home. That’s normal at first since your company will need a bit of time to adapt.
It can also be helpful to think about third-party partnerships, especially if the company you are partnering with is already in the country. These relationships might help to grow faster while minimizing some financial risks. The companies will be able to help
Can you go Global on a budget?
One of the “cheaper” ways to expand internationally is to start online. By starting to offer your services (it is much harder for products) in other regions by just localizing and translating your website, it makes visible to other people around the world, and you can already get feedback on your online internationalization. On top of that, it might also help you gain customers at home, many studies show that people love to buy things on websites that are in their own language. If your business is in the United States, it might be a good idea to localize your website in Spanish, which then can be useful if you ever want to expand in South America or Mexico. If your business is in France, it is probably interesting to translate the website in English or even German. It will also force you to add content on blogs and social media, it is always useful to think where your customers spend time and create multilingual content to reach them.
Going global and expanding your business internationally is not an easy task, but the most business will have to think about internationalization as it offers many opportunities to grow.
Powerling helps companies to go global. We go beyond a direct translation to make sure your work delivers the proper impact in the target market. Your content can either be adapted or completely rewritten in the local language to reflect the original message. The result is often a mix of this, including new content, adapted content and imagery, and direct translation.
Powerling is a woman-owned business founded in 1983 that is today established as a trusted, versatile, and comprehensive language service provider. Specializing in the sectors of life sciences, law & finance, IT & marketing, and manufacturing & distribution, we provide solutions in over 75 languages.